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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't know exactly where this belongs so here we go. As several on this site know, I have been in the lawn care biz for a long time. I have always done this AND worked as a teachers Asst. in the school system, which gave me my insurance benefits, as well a summers off. After several years, my job was a victim of state budget cuts. I do NOT have the desire to mow and landscape full time. I have always done a ton of the maintenance and repairs on my equipment myself. I want to shift gears at this point in my life and go into the small engine repair business. Hopefully eventually be a dealer in something. But I don't have alot of money so I have to start small. I know that in a biz such as this 90% of what I will do is to remove and replace parts, such as the surgery I just did on my Dixon deck, replacing all the bearings and one spindle. But I know the other 10% can involve caurberation theory and priciples, electronics principles, etc. I have looked at some of the home study courses-one in paticular through Foley Belsaw. I know nothing of this type of stuff, but would like to study something so that I can better tear down and rebuild equipment.

Are there any reputable schools out there? Relocating to go to school is not an option at this point in my life with my wife working and my 2 kids settled in their schools.

If not what should I do?

Thanks for letting me ramble, I am losing sleep over this thing as I am 38 years old, married, 2 kids and down in the dumps over my job situation. I want to get going on the right track with this repair business so I can start provididng for my family the right way again.
 

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I don't know exactly where this belongs so here we go. As several on this site know, I have been in the lawn care biz for a long time. I have always done this AND worked as a teachers Asst. in the school system, which gave me my insurance benefits, as well a summers off. After several years, my job was a victim of state budget cuts. I do NOT have the desire to mow and landscape full time. I have always done a ton of the maintenance and repairs on my equipment myself. I want to shift gears at this point in my life and go into the small engine repair business. Hopefully eventually be a dealer in something. But I don't have alot of money so I have to start small. I know that in a biz such as this 90% of what I will do is to remove and replace parts, such as the surgery I just did on my Dixon deck, replacing all the bearings and one spindle. But I know the other 10% can involve caurberation theory and priciples, electronics principles, etc. I have looked at some of the home study courses-one in paticular through Foley Belsaw. I know nothing of this type of stuff, but would like to study something so that I can better tear down and rebuild equipment.

Are there any reputable schools out there? Relocating to go to school is not an option at this point in my life with my wife working and my 2 kids settled in their schools.

If not what should I do?

Thanks for letting me ramble, I am losing sleep over this thing as I am 38 years old, married, 2 kids and down in the dumps over my job situation. I want to get going on the right track with this repair business so I can start provididng for my family the right way again.
Interesting question. I have no interest in this personally, but I did a google on "online small-engine-repair school", and there seems to be a lot out there. Since you obviously are familiar with using the Internet, you may want to look into it. Good luck.
 

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If not what should I do?
I think what I would suggest is get a part time job in a shop. Get a feel for this type of work, find out if you really want to turn a wrench from the rest of your life. I know around here in Jersey, they are always looking for guys to do the grunt work.

As for education, all the big dog motor makers offer schooling to dealers and there employees of some kind. But I know here in jersey, Rutgers offers a course from Kohler, check the local night courses at high schools and voctecs. It will give you a start at the basics

Most of all, learn the basics, mechanical, fuel and electrical so you can trouble shoot a problem. The rest will come easily enough.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Interesting question. I have no interest in this personally, but I did a google on "online small-engine-repair school", and there seems to be a lot out there. Since you obviously are familiar with using the Internet, you may want to look into it. Good luck.
Yeah, I googled it and looked at stuff till I was GOOGLE eyed! ( pun intended ) LOL All of them I have found are home correspondance courses, which may or may not be a good thing. The thing from Foley Belsaw says that you ship small engines and components back and forth to their instructors who check your work. So I guess it is more than just reading a book and answering questions. I saw them in my Stens catalog, so I thought that MAYBE they were more reputable than a Penn Foster or Education Direct type of course. But when I got the info, the school itself looks a lot (almost too much) like the others. They offer courses in PC repair, auto repair, locksmithing, etc.

I was wary because I took a landscape course a few years ago through Education Direct, which is now Penn Foster. I could have learned almost as much by reading the back of a fertilizer bag and a landscaping for dummies book. So naturally I am skeptical of this one to, although it is from a different place.

Breezmister, I have done some checking but as you may have guessed, no one is really hiring anyone this time of year. I thought maybe it would be a good time to learn stuff and try to take off with it after the first of next year. I have an offer to work for a friend of mine in his auto shop doing tire and oil changes once mowing season is over, but small engine repair, parts and accessories as well as atv repair,parts and accesories is where my real desire is at. I have already wrenched enough on my own to know that I don't mind doing it.

Thanks for the responses so far and please keep the feedback coming! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Try your local community college. Ours has lots of related courses.
No courses of that nature anywhere around here, I already tried that too. The closest thing we have offered is auto technology, but it is only open to the general public IF it doesn't fill up with high school students who get first chance at it. Yeah right. A high school kid isn't going to pass up the chance to leave the high school campus and bus to the local college for 3 hours a day. I have not found an opening in that class in 5 years.
 

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I want to get going on the right track with this repair business so I can start provididng for my family the right way again.
:laugh: Look around you at the issues dealers actually face, from the manufacturers to customers that don't want to pay what it actually takes to repair something. But you'll have to start thinking from the dealer side instead of the customer side. You're best bet, with the economy the way it is right now, would be to find a well established dealership in your area and see if they are hiring. It may take some looking to find one that offers health insurance and stuff though, as this is a large cost to small businesses.

To go out and start up your own dealership the correct way at this point, would take a substantial amount of capital or require investors. Unless you plan on being the only employee, you'll have to remember that weekly payroll will eat up a lot of any money coming in, and then there are suppliers that like to be paid on time or they stop shipping to you. We've been at this 5 years now full time, and I have yet to draw a paycheck due to all the other costs involved that are taking any money that comes in. We just recently increased our labor rate from $45 up to $55/hr in hopes that we can start getting ahead somewhere instead of having to close up shop.
 

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Maybe you can get hired on in a regional distributors shop (not dealer) for one of the big brands, like Toro, BadBoy, Snapper, Wright, Hustler, Exmark, etc. I once worked for one, and was sent on their dime to classes at the manufacturers headquarters. They also had local specialists like an engineer from Cat and a representative from another deisel engine manufacturer (Renault?) come to our shop to hold classes. We had schooling on reel/bed knife sharpening, hydraulics, engine repair, diesel maintenance and fuel injection, engine cooling, etc.
 

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I am skeptical of this one to, although it is from a different place.
I think you're right, and I'd be wary too. Sorry my suggestion wasn't a good one.
 

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I think what I would suggest is get a part time job in a shop.
Hi,

I believe he hit it on the head when he said get a job in a shop. There is only so much that books and classes will teach you. There are thousands of tips and tricks to this type of repair. There will be experienced mechanics that will know many or most of them in a large reputable store.

I feel you should at least work from November to the following September to see the huge shift in work as it is related to the seasons in your location.

I had my shop (I bought the business from the original owners) from 1983 to 1989 and we would average 600 repairs a month. The experience I gained from either repairing or observing these repairs cannot be learned from a book and cannot be taught in a classroom.

Good post BREEZMISTER.

Best of luck in your venture,
echoman
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi,

I believe he hit it on the head when he said get a job in a shop. There is only so much that books and classes will teach you. There are thousands of tips and tricks to this type of repair. There will be experienced mechanics that will know many or most of them in a large reputable store.

I feel you should at least work from November to the following September to see the huge shift in work as it is related to the seasons in your location.

I had my shop (I bought the business from the original owners) from 1983 to 1989 and we would average 600 repairs a month. The experience I gained from either repairing or observing these repairs cannot be learned from a book and cannot be taught in a classroom.

Good post BREEZMISTER.

Best of luck in your venture,
echoman
I understand what you are saying and I am not against doing just that. But like I said above-no one is hiring anyone right now. I have checked with all of the shops in my area(and some not in my area) I can think of. Sooooooooooooo....................... unless and until I can find one to give me a shot, I have to proceed with a plan B. So I need you fine people to help me decide what is my best option for plan B.:confused:

Thanks!:)
 

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I have to proceed with a plan B. So I need you fine people to help me decide what is my best option for plan B.:confused: Thanks!:)[/QUOTE said:
Hi,

Well a lot of shade tree mechanics are in their back yard fixing a mower right now. You could start that way and as long as I am around a computer then I'll give you my 2 cents worth of advise. Each day there are many good mechanics (not me) that give out info worth thousands of dollars . You could do worse.

Invest in some advertising and expect the market to change to chainsaws soon rather than mowers. Most places are slower in the winter. Survive until spring and there will be a shop that will need your help.

echoman
 

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So I need you fine people to help me decide what is my best option for plan B.:confused:
You have to play the cards you have in your hand. I'm guessing that you want benefits for you and the family ?

Find another job as a teacher's aid, even if you have to travel

Expand your landscaping business and go full time and add a few more guys and equipment.

Since you know the biz, go work full time as a manager for some one like Brickman, it's been a while, but I do believe they advertise in Truf in the back pages, or TrueGreen, they both offer benefits and a good starting salary.

If what I was told is correct, you could buy a John Deere franchise.

Since you have a start with Stens, add Gardener, Rotory, Canns BilCo and the list could go on, Check with Kawasaki, Biggs and Kohler and seen what they want you to do to become a dealer. Start out of your garage like Echoman said. But don't expect to make alot of money starting out.

Hope you have a couple of aces up your sleeve :laugh:
 
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Try to get a job at a local dealership. Most of them will train you and send you to service schools. You will also meet a lot of sales reps which will be useful if you ever plan on selling equipment. And trust me, the sales reps flock to the techs because the salesmen are too busy to talk to them.
 

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I need a couple of aces. I am not looking to get rich, but something above welfare would be nice.
Try and gather as many manufacturers sites with parts listing as you can, B&S, Kawa and all the others. They are very useful to have.

Maybe it would be a good idea if we could have a 'sticky' in this section with as many listed as possible.

Good luck in your new venture, always have a positive attitude towards this vocation :usflag:

Phil
 

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Lawnagent,

I have to agree with all the others by trying to get your foot in the door of a local shop. Shame your not around here, I'd put you to work tomorrow. I haven't been able to find anyone willing or smart enough to train around here in over 10 yrs.....Yeah, I handle ALL 4 cycle equipment repairs by myself.

Employment status can change at any time so don't give up on your local shops. Keep paying them visits, If anything they will get a good impression from your eagerness to work/learn and one may just let you in the door.

Good Luck

 

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Small engine shops around here are closing up as we become a disposable society. Not sure in your area, but the motorcycle/boat/sea-doo type shops are going crazy, and most of these will service small engines. Just a thought. Also Sears have small engine service, maybe there is a Sears near you. ( also a good place to order carb tools )
 

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You have to play the cards you have in your hand. I'm guessing that you want benefits for you and the family ?

If what I was told is correct, you could buy a John Deere franchise.
BZZZZZ. Incorrect.

John Deere (Big Green) is slowly weedingout the smaller dealers and building up larger, more regional dealers.
To even get your foot in the door to be a deere dealer, you need to Gross $2 million per year.

Lawnagent -

I'm looking into doing this too. Fortuneatly, I've had the good fortune to work for a dealer for 20 years.

Step 1) Get a business number.

Step 2) Get insurance - at least liability.

Step 3) Contact your regional B&S distributor - in my area, it's Atlantic Power. B&S is the cheapest to start out with - parts requirement is approximately $200-$300. (Order all of that in filters and carb parts - it won't go that far.)

Step 4) Attend the REQUIRED week-long school thatthey will send you to.(About $400, including lodging.)

Step 5) Hang a shingle over your door.


The only step I would have to skip is going to the school.
Good luck.
 
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